Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rush and 24

Is it 1995 right now?

I've been listening to No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom album (which is pretty good) and Rush Limbaugh is everywhere. From CNN to political blogs to newspapers to CSPAN to Comedy Central, it's Limbaugh, Limbaugh, Limbaugh.

Unfortunately for Rush, this isn't 1995 anymore and he's stuck outside the trendy nightclub of American politics begging the bouncer to let him in. Yet, there he is, on every square inch of media.

Some say that the Democrats have pulled off a brilliant political ploy by bringing up Rush Limbaugh at every opportunity in attempt to portray an unpopular (with everyone who's to the left of Genghis Kahn) radio talk show host as the leader of the Republican Party. It's worked. Now every major figure in the party cedes to his every whim. He's Jabba the Hut and they're his servants. Great work, Dems.

Too bad this political Jedi mind trick means I have to hear about this guy every day. He's no longer fresh. His ideas have been repudiated. He's past his prime. He shouldn't matter anymore. As much as I deplore the Republican Party, they should have a better spokesman than that guy. That way, I'll be spared his new celebrity status, which he must love right now.

Fun fact: You know what's one of Rush's favorite TV shows? 24.

Segue time!

We're at the middle of Season 7 and it's been quite a ride. No show - and I've watched many - has ever come close to matching the suspense this one can create. It's just fun to watch, and this season has seen a rejuvenation.

However, the on-going torture "debate" falls flat. Credit them for trying. But how is the debate supposed to be fair when you have Jack Bauer on one side - he of the super powers - and sniveling bureaucrats on the other. Besides these clueless suits, you'll have the sensitive agent who doesn't want to torture but relents when there are no other options. They always see the light, even if they find it distasteful.

For several seasons, 24 has presented torture as necessary and useful. Fine. I accept it as a great literary device to create suspense and drama. Just don't use this an allegory to the real world, because 24 and the real world have very little in common.

If the United States of real America resembled the 24-verse, the following would be true:
  • Two nuclear explosions on U.S. soil
  • Air Force One shot down
  • Scores of deadly bio-weapons attacks
  • Nuclear plant meltdowns
  • A terrorist plot/cover up run by the president
  • Months of suicide bombs
  • Assassination of a former president after he survives about 15 previous attempts
  • Kidnapping the president

We'd be losing our minds. There would be no U.S. It'd be ThunderDome time as Tracy Jordan would say. So in Monday's episode, Bauer is thwarted in his attempt to torture information from a senator's aide. As a result, terrorists infiltrate the White House and we're supposed to think to ourselves, "Well, torture would have worked. Let's do that in real life."

Wrong! To believe this, you'd have to accept that a gang of 12 soldiers from an African country could invade the White House, which is one of the most secure buildings in the world, by swimming in the Potomac, drilling a hole in cement, bypassing the security in the cellar, breaking through a conveniently soft cement wall and mowing down Secret Service guards like they're redshirts.

In the real world, torturing the guy would not have mattered because to attack the White House in that manner is impossible. So anytime a conservative cites 24 as reason torture should be used, ignore them.

That said, the episode was as tense as they come. The show still has it. It just doesn't have credibility in the torture discussion. Got that, Rush?

1 comment:

  1. Rush and 24? I didn't even need to read the column, you summed up both things by placing them side-by-side.